I’m still waiting for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to respond to the letter I wrote him in before the Christmas holidays. In the meantime, I have written a letter to Canada’s Foreign Minister, Stephane Dion. Hoping the Trudeau government will issue a response soon.
To The Honourable Stéphane Dion,
My brother Saeed Malekpour, a Canadian resident, is imprisoned in Iran and his case requires your urgent attention. On behalf of the Malekpour family, I am requesting from the Canadian Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister to intervene on Saeed’s behalf to the government of Iran for the coordination of his immediate release.
We have been living a nightmare for the past seven years, since 2008 when IRGC agents kidnapped Saeed. To this day no evidence has ever been presented to prove the trumped up charges against him. He was held in prison for two years without charge then sentenced to death in a sham trial in 2010. The so called evidence the Judiciary used to convict him were hours of confessions my brother gave under extreme physical and psychological torture. In 2010 Saeed released a letter from prison stating on record that his confessions were false and detailed some of the tortures he has endured.
We are grateful for the help the Canadian government and human rights groups have given to Saeed in pushing for his release. Global attention on the case helped pressure Iranian authorities enough to quash Saeed’s death sentence in 2015. However, the five years he spent living with the fear of execution will likely stay with him, and so will the five years our family spent in a state of hell worrying for his life while trying to get the Iranian authorities to hear us out. Though we are no longer living in the shadow of death, we still need to get Saeed out of prison. We have taken every avenue possible to reach out to Iranian authorities, but to no avail.
There is no sign that they plan on releasing him any time soon. It is clear that to the Iranian authorities Saeed’s case was never about moderating “obscene” websites, my brother is a political hostage who will only be released with the right amount of diplomatic pressure. I ask you to ensure that human rights – especially the case of Saeed and other Canada-linked prisoners (like Mostafa Azizi) – is always placed at the forefront of any talks with the government of Iran. I have heard Canada is thinking of reopening diplomatic relations with the government of Iran, this would be the best time to call for Saeed’s release and safe return to Canada.
Saeed, a freelance web programmer, immigrated to Canada in 2004 and was awaiting Canadian citizenship when he returned to Iran in October 2008 to visit our fatally ill father. Shortly after his arrival, he was illegally nabbed by agents of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and brutally tortured. He was accused of moderating pornographic websites without any evidence presented to convict him. In an attempt to intimidate the family into silence, Iranian authorities issued multiple threats against us. It got so dangerous that I was forced to flee Iran. With the help of the Canadian government I was able to seek refuge in Canada. I am now safe in Canada and have started building a life while also advocating for my brother’s release.
It is very clear there is no legal justification for Saeed’s imprisonment. What he has gone through in Iran is a an insult to any Canadian’s sense of justice. Opening up relations with the government of Iran while Saeed remains in prison would place Canadian values at stake. Please do whatever you can to ensure Saeed’s release and safe return to Canada.Sincerely,Maryam Malekpour